The administration of George Herbert Walker Bush featured, without a shadow of a doubt, the best foreign policy team of my lifetime, designing and implementing the best foreign policy initiatives and programs in my lifetime, and doing the very best job of any administration in my lifetime in terms of responding to historic changes and challenges across the world.
And much of the reason for the above was the fact that Brent Scowcroft was the absolute best national security adviser in American history.
There is no second place.
Notwithstanding his disclaimer to the contrary, General Scowcroft did in fact have a quick and innovative mind, and he used it to put in place a smooth-running national security process that caused everyone involved in foreign policy and national security to feel that their views had received a fair hearing in the run-up to any presidential decision on national security and foreign policy matters. His closeness to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush–both of whom he served as national security adviser (he was much closer to President Bush, of course)–helped facilitate his work as national security adviser, but even putting closeness to presidents aside, Scowcroft was a master of process, a brilliant problem-solver, filled to the brim with convictions and principles, and always in command when it came to substantive matters. All of that, plus his self-effacing manner and his willingness to cede the spotlight to others, helped Scowcroft be supremely effective in his role. Many national security advisers who came after General Scowcroft pledged to implement the Scowcroft model, but none of them did nearly as good a job as he did.
It ought to go without saying that General Scowcroft’s patriotism, professionalism, intelligence, temperament and judgment stands in sharp contrast to the lying, the corruption, the cruelty and the stupidity that is on regular display in the Trump administration. The best tribute to Brent Scowcroft’s memory and legacy would be to get rid of this worst president and worst administration in American history, and restore an America in which wisdom and good judgment once again become the norm in American public service.
Requiescat in pace.